The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

15 January 2009

Stop the runway; join the airplot

Plans for building a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport have been approved by the UK government. There is widespread opposition to this from environmentalists as well as the two main opposition political parties who feel that a stop should be made to any airport expansion if the UK is to reduce its carbon emissions to the extent that will be needed to halt and reverse global warming. The most optimistic forecast for when the new runway would become operational is 2019, by which time the world will have had to come to terms with peak oil and the consequences of our inaction on climate change.

Greenpeace UK has developed a campaign for opposing the runway plan by buying a plot of land where it is to be built and then inviting people opposed to the runway plan to become co-owners. Sign up to join the Airplot and co-own a bit of land that will be needed for the runway. Do this at:

Here’s what Greenpeace say:

We've bought a piece of land slap bang in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow. We're not going to let the runway get built and we need your help.

 The government plans to go ahead with airport expansion across the country even though this means we'll have no hope of meeting our climate emission targets. At full capacity, Heathrow would become the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the whole country. We can't let this happen if we are serious about tackling climate change.

 We've bought the plot at Heathrow to make sure that climate change cannot be ignored. We will challenge the proposals every step of the way. We will give evidence at the planning inquiry, resist the compulsory purchase of the land, we will campaign during the national election and final, if necessary, we will stand with the community of Sipson and stop the bulldozers. The village of Sipson, including 700 homes, businesses, the local school and several local pubs, will be flattened to make way for the third runway. 

 We have four legal owners on the deeds: Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson, comedian Alistair McGowan and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith and Greenpeace UK. That's the maximum number of owners we can put on the deeds, but we're inviting everyone to join the plot as a beneficial owner and stand beside us to resist all attempts to build the runway.

 You'll be joining beneficial owners who've already signed-up including local Labour MP John McDonnell, Tory frontbench spokeswoman Justine Greening, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, environmentalist George Monbiot and acclaimed climate scientist and Royal Society Research Fellow Dr Simon Lewis.

 We'll be depending on thousands of people to join the Airplot community in the coming months and years to put pressure on your MPs, write letters to local media, join us at events, tell friends, and come up with your own ideas to make sure that everyone in the country know that we must stop airport expansion if we are going to stop runaway climate change.

 The government says that we need the third runway to create jobs in these tough economic times. But building a runway in 10 years time will do nothing to stop a recession now. And the benefits to the economy have been completely overblown by the government. In fact an independent study commissioned by WWF suggests that the true cost of a third runway would lead to a £5 billion loss.

In truth the government has few allies outside the aviation industry on this issue. Scientists including the government's former Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King, the head of the environment agency, Chris Smith, cabinet ministers Ed Miliband and Hillary Benn, all major opposition parties, and an increasing number of Labour MPs have all spoken out against the plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Link Now we need your help! Join the plot and help stop airport expansion.
Check out Plane Stupid, the campaign against airport expansion:

12 January 2009

Change the world at

The new US President used two catchphrases in his speeches “Change” and “Yes we can”. is a social action network where you can: learn about causes; connect to good people and non-profits; and take action.

You can also submit or vote on ideas for change in America. For example, here’s an idea that’s particularly relevant:

Appoint Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace and Non-Violence: Our planet, our media, our social interactions, our homes all suffer from the epidemic of inter-personal violence and warfare that plagues America. With the establishment of a Department of Peace and Non-Violence, with a respected Secretary of Peace in the President's Cabinet, and a program to reduce violence in cities, nations, and even in our homes, we will all benefit from the growth of a culture of peace. 
While this is a new layer of the Federal Government, it is a positive force for change, for handling the rage and violence that has cost our country billions in emergency rooms, police protection, broken homes and marriages. This is not an attempt to circumvent or replace the Department of Defense nor to co-opt the Department of State. This is a new entity, in the President's Cabinet, a Department dedicated to training peace-keepers, educating our children, and suggesting non-violent alternatives to hostility, and war.
We are asking for a motive and a method to counteract violence, with positive potentials for resolution of conflict, by individuals trained to work with local, state and national approaches, building a United States that no longer glorifies warfare and deadly force, but brings to the table a sincere desire for peace, and a methodology to achieve it. – Submitted by Stephen Zendt (Senior Citizen working in Financial Services, Walnut Creek, California). is a social entrepreneurship venture based in San Francisco, CA. The company was founded by Ben Rattray in the summer of 2005. launched the first version of its website in 2007. Our Vision: Today as citizens of the world, we face a daunting array of social and environmental problems ranging from health care and education to global warming and economic inequality. For each of these issues, whether local or global in scope, there are millions of people who care passionately about working for change but lack the information and opportunities necessary to translate their interest into effective action. aims to address this need by serving as the central platform informing and empowering movements for social change around the most important issues of our time.

Have fun browsing the ideas on this website:
Take action on issues. Be part of the change.

Football can change the world

Football is the world’s most popular sport. It can be used in many ways to help create a better world. All sorts of projects have been set up, from homeless and slum football leagues and world cups to micro-enterprises making fair trade footballs. But none has been so successful as the Mathare Youth Sports Association established in 1987 in a Nairobi slum which set up the semi-professional Mathare United team which has now won Kenya’s Premier League and helped create many young sports stars.

Boys' football in MYSA was started in the Mathare and Eastleigh area. In the first year the league comprised 27 teams. In 1988 there were over 120 teams from junior to senior level. Today over 13,000 youth aged between 9-18 play in MYSA boys leagues with over 900 boys teams in 15 different zones.

Girls football was started in 1992. Many of the girls were doing domestic work and had nothing interesting to do in their free time. Football was an unexpected success. Girls playing football in African society was an alien concept. Parents weren't comfortable with the idea and the boys laughed it off thinking that girls couldn’t play at all. But some girls were interested and also saw it as an opportunity to get fit, and MYSA was determined to develop the idea. In 1996 the girls under-14 team featured in the Norway Cup. Seeing fellow girls in action was a great morale boost for them. More and more girls wanted to be involved in football. Their parents started encouraging them and their brothers were surprised by how good the girls were. In 1998 and 2000 the girls' teams were runners up in the Norway Cup.

One underlying principle behind MYSA is reciprocity. “We’ll do something for you (provide you with the opportunity to play football), if you give something back in return (help clean up the community)”. A win may earn 3 points in the Mathare league, but participating in a clean up earns 6 points!. The incentive is clear.

Under the MYSA Environment Programme, young people and their teams are encouraged weekly and voluntarily to remove solid waste and unclog open sewers which will reduce disease. Any team that completes its cleanup activity is awarded 6 points in the league standings and individual players get 2 points in every completed cleanup which increases their chance of winning a leadership award. The programme teaches the youth to be responsible for their environment and be “winners on and off the pitch”. One successful activity can lead to another. MYSA is now considering acquiring skills and the necessary equipment which can be used to start a garbage recycling plant, which could become a successful income generating activity for MYSA.

The MYSA Leadership Awards Project tries to help the youth stay in school for an additional year. The MYSA youth are able to earn points for participating in sports and community development activities. Each year the best young leaders by age and gender in our 16 zones will receive MYSA Leadership Awards paid directly to their school. Each award is about $150 which largely covers their school fees. Over 300 young leaders receive awards annually.

Key MYSA achievements
• More and more youth are joining MYSA
• Through sport, MYSA is able to fight poverty by creating job opportunities for the youth and involving them in a scholarship award programme which keeps most of them in school.
• Through sport, MYSA has managed to create awareness on key social issues such as HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.
• First Kenyan team in the Norway Cup.
• First to combine sports with environment clean up.
• First self-help league by and for slum youth.
• Started Mathare United semi-professional team, which is also the first top team to train its players on HIV/AIDS awareness.
• MYSA hosts more that 70 teams from all over Kenya and neighbouring countries, for an annual international girls tournament
• The MYSA sports programme has been a model to other organizations in Africa and has offered consultancy services to countries such as Tanzania , Uganda , Botswana , Sudan , Zambia and South Africa by assisting them in initiating a similar programme, as well as offering coaching and refereeing courses.

Key challenges for MYSA
• Since MYSA does not own any community fields, the sports programme has to rely on the co-operation of local schools for running its activities.
• Future aims are:
To possess our own fields.
To fully equip our MYSA zones with all the required sports equipment
To expand the sports programme to other areas in Kenya
To incorporate sport for the disabled in our programme
To have our own stadium
To host an international youth exchange soccer tournament like the Norway Cup
To decentralize and have offices in all the 16 MYSA zones
To introduce other sporting activities apart from soccer

How you can help
1. Support MYSA with a cash donation. $160 will provide one leadership award and keep a young person in school for an additional year. Contact to find out more and to make a donation.
2. Donate equipment to MYSA. Trainers, boots, balls will all be useful.
3. Buy footballs from Alive and Kicking, a social enterprise which creates jobs for young people in Kenya making footballs, and donate them to MYSA. For just $15, A&K will make and deliver one football, netball or volleyball to a school, youth club, orphanage, slum project or refugee camp in Africa.